Biography

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sheldon Leonard Bershad (February 22, 1907 – January 11, 1997) was an American film and television actor, producer, director, and writer. Sheldon Leonard Bershad was born in Manhattan, New York City, the son of middle class Jewish parents Anna Levit and Frank Bershad. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1929.

As an actor, Leonard specialized in playing supporting characters, especially gangsters or "heavies", in films such as It's a Wonderful Life (1946; as bartender Nick), To Have and Have Not (1944), Guys and Dolls (1955), and Open Secret (1948). His trademark was his especially thick New York accent, usually delivered from the side of his mouth. In Decoy (1946), Leonard uses his "heavy" persona to create the hard-boiled police detective Joe Portugal.

On radio from 1945 to 1955, Leonard played an eccentric racetrack tout on The Jack Benny Program and later in the TV series of the same name. His role was to salute Benny out of the blue in railroad stations, on street corners, or in department stores ("Hey Bud. C'mere a minute."), ask Benny what he was about to do, and then proceed to try to argue him out of his course of action by resorting to inane and irrelevant racing logic. As "The Tout," he never gave out information on horse racing, unless Jack demanded it. One excuse the tout gave was, "Who knows about horses?"

Leonard was part of the cast of voice actors on the Damon Runyon Theatre radio show (1948-1949). He was part of the ensemble cast of the Martin and Lewis radio show. He also appeared frequently on The Adventures of the Saint, often playing gangsters and heavies, but also sometimes in more positive roles. Leonard was also a regular on the radio comedy series The Adventures of Maisie in the 1940s. During the 1950s, Leonard provided the voice of lazy fat cat Dodsworth in two Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoons directed by Robert McKimson. In the adventure movie The Iroquois Trail (1950), Leonard played against type in the significant role of Chief Ogane, a Native American warrior, who pursues and fights the frontiersman Nat "Hawkeye" Cutler (George Montgomery) in a climactic duel to the death with knives.

Later in the 1950s and 1960s, he established a reputation as a producer of successful television series, including The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room For Daddy) (1953–64), The Andy Griffith Show (1960–68), Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (1964–69), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–66), and I Spy (1965–68). He also directed several TV series episodes, including four of the first eight episodes of the TV series Lassie (Season 1, 1954). Leonard also provided the voice of Linus the Lionhearted in a series of Post Crispy Critters cereal TV commercials in 1963-64, which led to a Linus cartoon series that aired on Saturday (and later, Sunday) mornings on CBS (1964–66) and ABC (1967–69). He also was briefly the star of his own television show Big Eddie (1975), where he played the owner of a large sports arena. The show lasted for only ten episodes.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sheldon Leonard Bershad (February 22, 1907 – January 11, 1997) was an American film and television actor, producer, director, and writer. Sheldon Leonard Bershad was born in Manhattan, New York City, the son of middle class Jewish parents Anna Levit and Frank Bershad. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1929.

As an actor, Leonard specialized in playing supporting characters, especially gangsters or "heavies", in films such as It's a Wonderful Life (1946; as bartender Nick), To Have and Have Not (1944), Guys and Dolls (1955), and Open Secret (1948). His trademark was his especially thick New York accent, usually delivered from the side of his mouth. In Decoy (1946), Leonard uses his "heavy" persona to create the hard-boiled police detective Joe Portugal.

On radio from 1945 to 1955, Leonard played an eccentric racetrack tout on The Jack Benny Program and later in the TV series of the same name. His role was to salute Benny out of the blue in railroad stations, on street corners, or in department stores ("Hey Bud. C'mere a minute."), ask Benny what he was about to do, and then proceed to try to argue him out of his course of action by resorting to inane and irrelevant racing logic. As "The Tout," he never gave out information on horse racing, unless Jack demanded it. One excuse the tout gave was, "Who knows about horses?"

Leonard was part of the cast of voice actors on the Damon Runyon Theatre radio show (1948-1949). He was part of the ensemble cast of the Martin and Lewis radio show. He also appeared frequently on The Adventures of the Saint, often playing gangsters and heavies, but also sometimes in more positive roles. Leonard was also a regular on the radio comedy series The Adventures of Maisie in the 1940s. During the 1950s, Leonard provided the voice of lazy fat cat Dodsworth in two Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoons directed by Robert McKimson. In the adventure movie The Iroquois Trail (1950), Leonard played against type in the significant role of Chief Ogane, a Native American warrior, who pursues and fights the frontiersman Nat "Hawkeye" Cutler (George Montgomery) in a climactic duel to the death with knives.

Later in the 1950s and 1960s, he established a reputation as a producer of successful television series, including The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room For Daddy) (1953–64), The Andy Griffith Show (1960–68), Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (1964–69), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–66), and I Spy (1965–68). He also directed several TV series episodes, including four of the first eight episodes of the TV series Lassie (Season 1, 1954). Leonard also provided the voice of Linus the Lionhearted in a series of Post Crispy Critters cereal TV commercials in 1963-64, which led to a Linus cartoon series that aired on Saturday (and later, Sunday) mornings on CBS (1964–66) and ABC (1967–69). He also was briefly the star of his own television show Big Eddie (1975), where he played the owner of a large sports arena. The show lasted for only ten episodes.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 105

Birthday 1907-02-22

Day of Death 1997-01-10

Place of Birth Manhattan, New York, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • S.L. Bershad
  • S. L. Bershad

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1992 Color Adjustment as Himself
1988 James Stewart's Wonderful Life as (archive footage)
1986 Matlock (1 episode)
1984 Murder, She Wrote (1 episode)
1984 The Cosby Show (1 episode)
1982 Cheers (1 episode)
1979 The Facts of Life (1 episode)
1978 The Brink's Job as J. Edgar Hoover
1978 Top Secret as Carl Vitale
1975 Big Eddie (10 episodes)
1974 The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts (1 episode)
1972 Sanford and Son (3 episodes)
1969 My World and Welcome to It (2 episodes)
1968 Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (5 episodes)
1965 I Spy (82 episodes) as Disc Jockey
1964 Linus the Lionhearted (3 episodes)
1964 Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1 episode)
1963 Burke's Law (2 episodes)
1962 The Lucy Show (1 episode)
1961 Pocketful of Miracles as Steve Darcey
1961 The Dick Van Dyke Show (1 episode) as Big Max Calvada
1955 Guys and Dolls as Harry the Horse
1954 The Duke (1 episode) as Sam Marco
1953 Money from Home as Jumbo Schneider
1953 The Diamond Queen as Mogul
1953 A Peck o' Trouble as Dodsworth (voice)
1953 General Electric Theater (1 episode)
1952 Stop, You're Killing Me as Lefty
1952 Breakdown as Nick Sampson
1952 Young Man with Ideas as Rodwell 'Brick' Davis
1952 Kiddin' the Kitten as Dodsworth
1952 Here Come the Nelsons as Duke
1951 Come Fill The Cup as Lennie Garr
1951 I Love Lucy (1 episode)
1951 Behave Yourself!
1951 Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man as Boots Morgan
1950 The Colgate Comedy Hour (3 episodes)
1950 The Iroquois Trail as Chief Ogane
1949 Take One False Step as Detective Pacciano
1949 My Dream Is Yours as Grimes
1949 Daughter of the Jungle as Dalton Kraik
1948 Joe Palooka in Winner Take All as Hermon
1948 Jinx Money as Lippy Harris
1948 Madonna of the Desert as Nick Julian
1948 Open Secret as Detective Sgt. Mike Frontelli
1948 If You Knew Susie as Steve Garland
1948 Alias a Gentleman as Harry Bealer
1947 The Gangster as Cornell
1947 Violence as Fred Stalk
1947 Sinbad the Sailor as Auctioneer
1946 It's a Wonderful Life as Nick
1946 Decoy as Sergeant Joe Portugal
1946 The Last Crooked Mile as Ed 'Wires' MacGuire
1946 Bowery Bombshell as Ace Deuce Baker
1946 Somewhere in the Night as Sam
1946 Her Kind of Man as Felix Bender
1946 Rainbow Over Texas as Kirby Haynes
1945 Captain Kidd as Cyprian Boyle
1945 Frontier Gal as 'Blackie' Shoulders
1945 Why Girls Leave Home as Chris Williams
1945 River Gang as Peg Leg
1945 Radio Stars on Parade as Lucky Maddox
1945 Zombies on Broadway as Ace Miller
1945 Crime, Inc. as Capt. Ferrone
1944 The Falcon in Hollywood as Louie Buchanan
1944 To Have and Have Not as Lt. Coyo
1944 Gambler's Choice as Chappie Wilson
1944 Trocadero as Mickey Jones
1944 Timber Queen as Smacksie Golden
1944 Uncertain Glory as Henri Duval
1943 Klondike Kate as 'Sometime' Smith
1943 Harvest Melody as Chuck
1943 Passport to Suez as Johnny Booth
1943 Hit the Ice as Harry 'Silky' Fellowsby
1943 Taxi, Mister as Gangster Louis Glorio / The Frisco Ghost
1943 City Without Men as Monk LaRue
1942 Lucky Jordan as Slip Moran
1942 Street of Chance as Detective Joe Marruci
1942 Pierre of the Plains as Clairou
1942 Tortilla Flat as Tito Ralph
1942 Born to Sing as Pete Detroit
1941 Rise and Shine as Menace
1941 Week-End in Havana as Boris
1941 Married Bachelor as Johnny Brannigan
1941 Buy Me That Town as Chink Moran
1941 Tall, Dark and Handsome as Pretty Willie Williams
1939 Another Thin Man as Phil Church
1935 Ouanga as LeStrange, the Overseer
1934 The Gem of the Ocean as Pasha
1934 My Mummy's Arms as Abdullah

Directing

1970 Make Room for Granddaddy (1 episode)Director
1969 My World and Welcome to It (2 episodes)Director
1967 Accidental Family (1 episode)Director
1967 The Danny Thomas Hour (1 episode)Director
1965 I Spy (1 episode)Director
1964 Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1 episode)Director
1963 My Favorite Martian (1 episode)Director
1963 The Bill Dana Show (3 episodes)Director
1961 The Dick Van Dyke Show (5 episodes)Director
1960 The Andy Griffith Show (3 episodes)Director
1957 The Real McCoys (6 episodes)Director
1954 Lassie (6 episodes)Director
1953 General Electric Theater (2 episodes)Director

Production

1978 Top Secret Executive Producer
1972 Shirley's World (17 episodes)Producer
1972 The Don Rickles Show (8 episodes)Producer
1970 From a Bird's Eye View (16 episodes)Producer
1969 My World and Welcome to It (26 episodes)Executive Producer
1969 My Friend Tony (16 episodes)Producer
1967 Accidental Family (16 episodes)Producer
1967 Good Morning, World (26 episodes)Producer
1965 I Spy (82 episodes)Producer
1963 The Bill Dana Show (42 episodes)Producer
1961 The Dick Van Dyke Show (158 episodes)Producer
1960 The Andy Griffith Show (249 episodes)Executive Producer

Creator

1970 From a Bird's Eye View Creator
1967 Good Morning, World Creator
1960 The Andy Griffith Show Creator

Writing

1952 Your Jeweler's Showcase (1 episode)Writer
1945 Shadow Of Terror Story

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